Filmmakers Adam Shell (Director, Producer, Editor) and Nicholas Kraft (Producer, Editor) set out to find the happiest people in America for their newly released documentary PURSUING HAPPINESS – and it’s no surprise that their quest led them to Pittsburgh’s own Randy Gilson, proprietor of RANDYLAND; a beacon of joy that defies explanation and invites visitation. Randy and “LAND” are both prominently featured in the captivating new film which recently received a screening at City of Asylum’s Alphabet City on Pittsburgh’s North Side, with both producers and Pittsburgh’s “happiest resident” in attendance. Learn more about PURSUING HAPPINESS at www.pursuinghappiness.com, and visit RANDYLAND virtually at randy.land, and in person at 1501 Arch Street, Pittsburgh PA, 15212. Continue reading “PURSUING HAPPINESS – with Pittsburgh’s Randy Gilson”
“Bizarre tale of extreme disfunction in the backwoods with a Breaking Bad sense of dark humor…these women, while not dogs, do bite back.” – Adrian McCoy, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“Riveting” – Bill O’Driscoll, Pittsburgh City Paper
On Friday May 27 at 7:30pm, enjoy a rare theatre screening of the first 5 episodes of the acclaimed web series DOG BYTES along with live performances by musicians featured in the series at The Oaks Theater.
DOG BYTES, produced entirely in the Pittsburgh region by Pittsburgh artists, has garnered a host of international/domestic awards and recognition.
Producers/actors Tammy Tsai and Adrienne Wehr, along with director/writer Melissa Martin will be on hand along with actor/musician John Gresh, and musicians Scotty Grill and Lonesome Bob at this special screening/concert that supports the production of the next season of DOG BYTES.
Be part of the crowd stirring to help fund this homegrown effort gone global! Advance tickets for this event are just $12 for auditorium seats and $15 for table seats. All tickets at the door the night of the event are $15. Doors open at 630pm and the show starts at 730pm. – See more at: here.
For more info on the series: click here.
For a Sneak Peek of the first season: click here.
Serpentine: an Alternate Reality Game Blurs Barrier Between Fantasy and Reality
Pittsburgh, PA – April 26th, 2016 – What if a theater experience did not have to end just because you left the venue? Beginning this May, Uncumber Theatrics’ latest creation Serpentine invites participants to become part of a five week story that will take them across Pittsburgh and down the proverbial rabbit hole.
Serpentine blends Pittsburgh’s real history with a touch of film noir magical realism to create a playground that is the city itself. Inspired by a true Pittsburgh cold case, patrons will begin their adventure in true film noir fashion — in the office of a private investigator. What patrons discover within this office will launch them into a multi-week excursion that will have them chasing down informants, attending strange events, and searching both public spaces and internet sites for clues.
This character-driven Alternate Reality Game is part immersive theater and part scavenger hunt. Participants may delve as deeply or tread as lightly in the game as they see fit. Because the world of Serpentine is too complex for any one person to explore, collaboration becomes key. Each participant will be invited to join an online forum where they can compare notes and share information. But chose your allies carefully. Factions may emerge as this story heads towards an unknown conclusion. In the end, how this story plays out is entirely in the hands of its participants.
“If you ever thought Pittsburgh might be a magical place, you don’t know how right you are,” says Creative Director and Story Creator Ayne Terceira, whose other immersive work includes serving as a cast member of immersive experience STRATA (Bricolage) and artistic director of fear experience The Basement (ScareHouse), as well as Uncumber’s previous fully sold-out runs Her Things, Prof. Eldritch’s Asylum for Uncanny & Extraordinary Women, and Mingled. “We have fused the living world of Serpentine with our own in order to highlight a few of Pittsburgh’s strange features. In the end, you may discover there was never really a difference between the two worlds at all.”
Serpentine’s five week story begins on May 19th. Participants can enter the game at any point during the first four weeks. For each participant, the experience begins with an appointment at Maat Investigations, located at an undisclosed office space in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood. Up to four participants can attend the initial office appointment at a time. Each initial office appointment lasts approximately 40 minutes, but the time spent in the game thereafter is up to each participant. Tickets can be purchased online at the Uncumber Theatrics website (www.uncumbertheatrics.com). This experience will be open to the public and is suitable for adults ages 21+.
Serpentine is the fifth production of Uncumber Theatrics, under the creative direction of Ayne Terceira and the technical direction of Aaron Tarnow (whose experience in innovative, site-specific theatre includes two seasons as the Technical Director of Quantum Theatre). Uncumber Theatrics’ mission is to push the limits of improvisational actors and improvisational techniques to create new and innovative theatrical work. The cast therefore is drawn heavily from Pittsburgh’s booming improvisational community.
Tonight’s guest is filmmaker Cody Hartman! Quite possibly the youngest feature film director in America, Cody discusses his latest project INSOMNIA (which includes a few Pittsburgh familiar faces), the biggest challenges of filmmaking, and blast-from-the-past Sinbad! Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete, unedited interview in audio podcast for more on the upcoming film INSOMNIA, and why GIGLI may be the worst movie ever made. Continue reading “Cody Hartman – Filmmaker”
PEACHES CHRIST AT THE 2015 REEL Q FILM FESTIVAL
by Mike “Buzz” Buzzelli, ‘Burgh Vivant.
Joshua Grannell is returning to Pittsburgh. Grannell who wrote and directed the horror/comedy, “All About Evil,” is flying in for a screening of the film for Reel Q’s 30th Anniversary fundraiser on October 8 at the Harris Theater. Grannell was a film student at Penn State University almost twenty years ago. His senior thesis film, “Jizzmopper: A Love Story,” won the audience award at the annual Penn State Film Festival in 1996.
Grannell said, “I used to hang out in Pittsburgh. I used to watch screenings at the Beehive and I used to go to Pegasus. The Andy Warhol Museum was just opening when I left [May 15, 1994].”
The filmmaker is more commonly known by his on-stage persona, Peaches Christ, a character he first developed back in “Jizzmopper: A Love Story.”
Grannell said, “I was queer at a young age. I didn’t know I was gay, but I wasn’t interested in sports. I liked drama, theater and movies. I was always attracted to horror. I was obsessed with ‘Psycho.’” He added, “I was a sensitive boy, but I liked movies with dark subject matter.”
After graduating at Penn State, Grannell moved to San Francisco where Peaches Christ flourished. He began producing Midnight Mass, a midnight movie series. At Midnight Mass at the Bridge Theater in San Francisco, Peaches attracted a slew of special guest stars like Cassandra Peterson (“Elvira, Mistress of the Dark”), Mink Stole (“Desperate Living”), Tura Satana (“Faster Pussycat Kill Kill”) and John Waters (“Hairspray,” “Cry Baby,” “Pink Flamingos,” “Serial Mom” and more).
Mark Cuban (“Shark Tank”) took an interest in Peaches. In Midnight Mass’s tenth annual season, a six-part series, “Midnight Mass with your Hostess Peaches Christ” was filmed and televised on the HDnet Movie Channel produced by Cuban. Peaches went on to make appearances on VH1, AMC and IFC.
In 2007, the de Young Museum hosted a retrospective of Peaches Christ called, “Cattychism.” The exhibition featured artistic contributions inspired by Peaches, including ten years of iconic costumes.
But it was the connections that help launch “All About Evil.” Grannell said, “I became friends with people who were big inspirations to me.” The writer/director formed long-lasting friendships with Cassandra Peterson and Mink Stole.
He added, “We did a Midnight Mass with Mink Stole and screened ‘Desperate Living’ and she told me later that it was really important to her. She was always regarded as a member of the John Waters family, but at that screening she said, ‘I never received accolades without the others around.’ It was really special to her.”
Grannell said, “I was inspired by people like Cassandra Peterson.” There is a resemblance. Grannell hosts midnight movies, and Peterson hosted midnight movies as Elvira. Neither Grannell nor Peterson look like their personas without the hair and makeup.
The filmmaker was able to entice both Mink Stole and Cassandra Peterson to appear in “All About Evil.” The film winks at Bette Davis, Mae West and other movie stars. The movie stars Natasha Lyonne (“Orange is the New Black,” “But I’m a Cheerleader”) as a mousy librarian who inherits her father’s Movie Theater, but when she commits a grisly murder (inside a Bed, Bath and Beyond of all places) she becomes a horror genre sensation. Although the audience is unaware that the on screen murders are real.
At the Pittsburgh screening at the Harris Theater, 809 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh, the San Francisco filmmaker will host special performances by Vinsantos, Janet Granite and Bambi Deerest. Local drag diva Sharon Needles will introduce the event. After the movie, the celebration will continue down the block at There Ultra Lounge, 931 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh.
Grannell will spend a few days in Pittsburgh before heading to a special screening at his alma mater, Penn State.
Grannell added, “I’ve got a couple of days in Pittsburgh, and Sharon Needles has offered to take me around.”
Picture it, Peaches Christ and Sharon Needles out on the town. It’s going to be a wild weekend in the ‘Burgh.
For more information about the event, please click here.
Tonight we raise our glass to Executive Director Mitch Leib in celebration of 30 years of Reel Q: the Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. In the lobby of Pittsburgh’s downtown Harris Theater, Mitch chats with host Brian Edward about the organization’s colorful 30 year history, how its changed over three decades in the steel city, and the highlights of this year’s festival including a special director’s cut of the film “54.” And none of it would be complete without quoting “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete, unedited interview in audio podcast for more on the 2015 Reel Q Film Festival, Mitch’s earliest cinematic impressions, and the compelling qualities of the camp film genre. See the full 2015 Reel Q Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival schedule and purchase your passes at www.reelq.org Continue reading “MITCH LEIB – Executive Director, Pittsburgh Lesbian & Gay Film Society”
Here are the Top Five Things to do in Pittsburgh the weekend of July 8 to July 11
Hit the Silk!
You can walk down the red carpet at a movie premiere this weekend at Silk Screen’s Asian Arts and Cultural Organization’s Red Carpet Gala. Celebrate their tenth anniversary of Asian American film, dance, art and music. The Red Carpet Gala is July 9 at 6:00 at the A.J. Palumbo Hall of Science and Technology, Carlow University, 3333 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. For more information, go here. For details on the rest of the fest, go here.
Crawl to Daddy
The monthly Gallery Crawl is back downtown. Pittsburgh is full of Art, Music, Dance, Architecture, Comedy and Film. Experience them on Friday night between 5:30 and 9:00 pm at the quarterly Gallery Crawl. The event is free and open to the public. So check out all the participating venues and see what Pittsburgh has to offer! For more information, go here.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s 9th annual Cosmopolitan Pittsburgh fundraiser is happening this Friday, July 10. Following the Gallery Crawl around the Cultural District, run away with the circus and indulge in astounding performances, music, activities, and a wondrous dance party. Savor signature beverages and delicious treats, while enjoying a fabulous night on the town! Hit the VIP party from 7:00 – 9:00 pm or dance to DJ Pandemic for the Main Event. It’s at the African American Cultural Center, 980 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh, PA 15222. For more information, go to here.
Elementary, My dear Watson!
A mystery is afoot! And Sherlock Holmes is back on the case. Will it be his last? It may, since the play is called, “Sherlock’s Last Case.” It’s a spoof on the beloved characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. David Whalen is, once again, playing the iconic detective. It opens, Friday, July 10. You don’t have to go to all the way to 221 B Baker Street, just go to the Charity Randall Theatre, 4301 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224. For more information, go here.
Fill ‘er up!
On the eve of his birthday, Nat Paradis’ old high school flame returns for her mother’s funeral and walks into the convenience store Nat and his dad run in rural Northern Maine in “Last Gas.” John Cariani’s comedy can be found at the Little Lake Theatre, 500 Lakeside Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317. For more information, go here.
“Serial Bad Weddings”, “Censored Voices,” and “A Borrowed Identity.” A wild weekend? The return of the JFilm Festival in Pittsburgh? Or both?? JFilm is a year round film presenting organization and Executive Director Kathryn Spitz Cohan visits for cocktail hour right in the middle of the 2015 Festival to tease us with what we’ve missed and what’s to come! We’ll be seeing you at the movies this weekend! Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete interview in audio podcast for more on JFilm’s year round programming, Ms. Cohan’s impressive accomplishments in Pittsburgh, and the BEST part of the movie-going experience! For a schedule of films visit www.jfilmpgh.org Continue reading “KATHRYN SPITZ COHAN – Executive Director, JFilm Festival”
Tonight: the gifts of Gab! Theatre Artist and Filmmaker Gab Cody visits ‘Burgh Vivant’s happy hour on the eve of the world premiere of her play PRUSSIA: 1866. Deep philosophies abound, the space between art and science is challenged – and all in the presence of an ominous seashell lamp! Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete, unedited interview in audio podcast for more on what inspires Gab’s plays, the current state of American theatre, and where it may be in the next decade. See PRUSSIA: 1866 by Gab Cody at The REP through February 22, www.pittsburghplayhouse.com Continue reading “GAB CODY – Theatre Artist, Filmmaker”
Color. A crucial consideration in professional photography. And martinis! Tonight it’s aqua blue cocktails with photographer Greger Erickson. Fashion, film, industrial, fine art – he’s shot it all. Much of capturing the perfect photo is left to chance, but lightning strikes – and Greger is there! Hear about it all on tonight’s episode. Listen to “The Full Martini” – the complete, unedited interview in audio podcast to learn more on the effects of technology on professional photographers, the iPhone camera – yay or nay, and “the shot that got away.” www.gregerericksonproductions.com